If you are arrested for committing a high crime a trial must take place. If you are found guilty of said high crime you must be sentenced to be executed.
If, after arrest or voluntary surrender, the sheriff wishes to have you tried immediately he must inform you of such within the initial 10 minutes of your arrival at the jail. If you know a lawyer or citizen of good standing within the town in which you’ve been arrested, who you’d like to defend you, you should give the sheriff this information immediately so he can try to find them as well as any witnesses (max of 2 for both sides) you would like to call to speak on your behalf. If the lawyer or witnesses cannot be found you will be given no less than 2 real time days to find representation before a hearing. If you are unable to find a lawyer to represent you you may elect for someone within good standing in the town to speak on your behalf, or you may represent yourself.
If an arrested person is to be tried, and an immediate trial is not possible, the prosecuting sheriff must make every effort to find a trial day and time the arrested person can attend. If, after 50 minutes of regular and persistent effort to settle on a mutually agreeable day and time this has not been reached, only then may the trial fall back on a ‘default’ of 2 days hence at the time of arrest. If an arrested person escapes while being held before a trial date is agreed upon they will need to be arrested again before a trial date can be set in place. County Court trials should be posted in the IC Announcements Discord channel by the overseeing judge to avoid double bookings. When posting a trial notice you should include: the name of the defendant, the name of arresting sheriff or deputy, the name of the JotP who will be trying the criminal and the crime(s) the defendant is accused of, as well as the date & time of the trial.
Immediately arranged trials can be held in any suitable unlocked public building such as the saloon or town hall, except the jail building. In other words, you must actually be moved from one building to another, and the building you’re moved to for trial must be publicly accessible. You must be given the opportunity to have representation (whether that is a lawyer or a citizen of good standing you elect) and both sides may call no more than 2 witnesses.
If a trial is set for a future date this should be held at the County Courthouse at Juniper. The sheriff in charge of your custody will have the responsibility of ensuring your safe arrival at trial, he may post deputies to follow you about your business or watch your place of abode to ensure you do not try to run. It is your responsibility to ensure your representation and witnesses are at the courthouse for your hearing, if you desire them. The case will be heard whether you or your representation turn up or not, with a judgement made in absentia if necessary. If the presiding judge or arresting sheriff does not turn up at the court hearing you will have all charges against you dropped and will be a free person, however this will not count in the double jeopardy rule and you can be re-charged at a later date.
Any judge or justice of the peace can try criminals, the only restriction is they cannot be the named justice of the peace of the same town as the arresting sheriff. The sheriff is responsible for finding an available judge or justice of the peace for trial.
After a trial the presiding judge must ensure full court records are noted, these should include:
- Date & time of trial in GS standard time (MT)
- Name of Accused
- Name of Presiding Judge or JotP
- Name of Prosecuting Sheriff
- Any notes such as whether a mistrial was called for or any unusual occurrences.
If you are found guilty of a high crime in absentia, in other words, you don’t turn up for your trial, your conviction will be recorded in the County Court records and if you are then arrested at a later date a sheriff may carry out this execution as if you had just had your trial (i.e. offer you a last visitation and give you at least a 45 minute, but no more than 60 minute, window before execution commences). This will still be counted as a permadeath execution and you will need to reroll.
You may only be tried for the same crime once.